By J. B. Fagoyinbo

I haven’t made a wrong choice

Have you decided on your career or are you still in the process of choosing one?

In an earlier article Career Decision Making,  I discussed how I chose engineering as a career. I haven’t regretted the decision although it gave me a five-year setback on graduating, but I have fulfilment; fulfilment was the basis for choosing a career in our time.

Career decision making should be done by the individual but parental guidance is needed at the early age; parents should not tailor their children to a particular profession but assist them in identifying their talents.

Let’s come back to you.

Career choice is a lifelong affair but its foundation must be solidly made. First, what disciplines and/or vocational training are related to the career? Next, what additional training and exposures would you require to adequately prepare yourself for the career?

Pre-High School Candidates

At this period, the candidates are more impressed by the quality of lives they observe in the people around them. This is very important in that it draws from their perception of life; this, however, is not a proof of their capabilities. A cousin had been drawn to military life from his infant days and was never attracted to any television programme that was not related to the military. After his High School, he gained selection into military officer training academy. He could not endure through the orientation.

Parental guidance is essential at this stage of life; not parental control. Many parents want their children to follow their careers. My oculist once lamented to me “You are the son of a farmer and you’re studying engineering whereas all my children are in the humanities”. I was then in my first year at the university.

Parents should identify the areas in which their children perform best and encourage them with support; moral, physical and financial, if capable.

About 10% of children perform very well in all subjects of study in the primary and secondary schools. Parents should try to identify areas in which the children are more exposed to. As a guide, parents should:

  1. Avail themselves of the resource requirements of varying professions; careers and vocations
  2. Put their children in schools where the children can obtain the best education they can afford;
  3. Encourage their children to get the most out the  school placement;
  4. Promote their self-understanding through self-study;
  5. Introduce them to activities that will require them to make decisions;
  6. Respect gender equity and cultural diversity;
  7. Help them learn about skills;
  8. Expose them to various work conditions that relate to their observed interests; and
  9. Observe the effects of part-time work and their responses.

Post High School Candidates

First, check out on your grades in the various subjects you had in your examinations. Have you been keeping records of your performance through High School? This is very crucial in narrowing down the wide range of disciplines available to you. Consider also your performance in computing activities; field activities, if any; relational activities; hobbies; daily chores; etc. I used to hawk vegetables, sugarcane and bitter yam after school hours in my Primary School days; this was helpful in my understanding of Arithmetic in which my least score was 98% throughout the seventeen terminal examinations. It also helped me in the study of Mathematics later in my school age.

You may not have serious problem in the choice of a discipline to study if you’ve had proper guidance in the selection of your subjects; but if not, examine what you have in relation to admission requirements for the various programmes available in the various categories of colleges: universities; polytechnics; technical colleges; and vocational centres.

You need credit level passes in English Language and Pure Mathematics, along with credit level passes in three subjects relating to the programme you’re interested in. The error most science and engineering prospective candidates make is the notion that credit-level pass is not essential in The English Language. A friend of mine says, “Why settle for the equivalent; why not go for the original?” You’ll discover to your chagrin that admission becomes difficult without credit level pass into most reputable higher institutions.

Professional bodies are also very strict in respect of admission requirements. For example Engineers’ Registration Councils all over the world will not accredit you to practise if you were wrongly admitted into higher institutions without credit passes in Mathematics and Physics. Same applies to the Medical and the Pharmaceutical professions in the relevant subjects that apply to them.

Parental counselling is still important. You may need to bring in a reputable professional in the field of interest. I had to do this for my youngest child; he is the better for it now and he appreciates it.

Post-College Candidates

You’ve had a discipline, profession or vocation. Your next line of action is choosing a career. You’ve narrowed down your scale of search. You still have a wide enough playing ground all the same.

The Career Mentoring Institute has developed a career test that can be personally administered. It does not, however, preclude the need for a career counsellor. You are advised to log on to start your free career test at

You should be able to relate your background with the result of the assessment.


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